Category Archives: quickie

quickie: “projet”

projet (n.m.) : project

Dear franglophonians:

Every now and then, we find ourselves searching for weeks, months, maybe years – feeling out what we want to do next, what will be our nouveau projet.  The past few months, I’ve found my efforts scattered – learning Italian, pursuing freelance food writing, and starting a new job in the field of nutrition and wellness.

Oh the joys of Parisian market life…like the first time I ever tried “oursin” (sea urchin)…

And in this flurry of activity, I’ve been yearning to find a way to combine the lifestyle and perspective I gained in France with all my other interests.  So after much consideration, I’ve launched a new blog called “Comme au marché“, where my love for languages, food, lifestyle, and la vie quotidienne can be celebrated in all its myriad forms, without restricting the content to francophone/phile readers.

I hope many of you will migrate to check out comme au marché.  Without la vie franglophone and my time living in Paris, it is a projet that would have never come to be.

à très bientôt j’espère,


“Le véritable voyage de découverte ne consiste pas à chercher de nouveaux paysages, mais à avoir de nouveaux yeux. “
(The true voyage of discovery does not consist in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes)
-Marcel Proust


nouveau > new

la vie quotidienne > daily life

marrant > funny

mot > word

typiquement français > typically french

à très bientôt j’espère > I’ll see you very soon I hope


Leave a comment

Filed under quickie

quickie : Italie

Italie (n.f.) : Italy

And check out some more of my sister's amazing photography from Italy! (If she can make me look good stuffing my face, imagine what else she can do!)

As I briefly mentioned in another post, I recently had the chance to revisit the pays de mes ancêtres: Italie.

This was a trip en famille, but not to see family members, as I haven’t any known relatives in Italy anymore.

However, this was a celebration of all things italien, and most especially, la gastronomie (with me, what else would do?).  I covered a good deal of ground – from Rome to Venice, Bologna, Reggio Emilia, Capri, Taormina, and so on – and even video-taped a number of sneak peaks for the website

See below links to my sneak-peek videos & critiques gastronomiques from Rome:

Very Italian Pizza (video) (review)

Antica Salumeria (video) (review)


pays de mes ancêtres: Italie > land of my ancestors : Italie

en famille > as a family

italien > Italian

la gastronomie > gastronomy

critiques gastronomiques > culinary reviews

Leave a comment

Filed under quickie

quickie: “refaire”

refaire (v.) : re-do

As any long-term readers might have noticed, my NY-based posts have featured food less frequently than their Paris-inspired predecessors.  However, for those who prefer salivating while reading – une bonne nouvelle!  I recently was asked to contribute to an up-and-coming foodie website, Daily Food and Wine, whose much-anticipated launch is planned for October.  For my first assignment, I was asked to refaire (see: anglicize) reviews of Parisian restaurants from my blog.  The first of these rewritten reviews was published yesterday – “Back-Alley Bliss” – about Caffé dei Cioppi, a somewhat hard-to-find and very charming Italian bistro in the 11e.  (If you prefer your food-writing with a dose of French vocab, you can read the original review here).

I’ve a few trips ahead, including Chicago, un retour à Paris, and a 2-week loop of Italy – so it should be good eating and reading in the months to come!


une bonne nouvelle > good news

un retour à > a return to

Leave a comment

Filed under culinary cliffnotes, quickie

quickie: “l’eau de robinet”

eau de robinet (n.f.) : tap water

My family arrived in Floride this morning, to spend the holidays on Marco Island.  Which meant abandoning antipasto and other Christmas delights faits maison for a “french” holiday buffet. The meal was actually pas mal– but the most memorable part of the evening wasn’t the food.

Just after nous nous sommes assises, a young blond waitress with a lovely french accent sauntered up and asked us if we would like bottled water (plat ou gazeuse) or if we’d prefer “tape water”.  As I paused in linguistic amusement -considering whether or not to correct this jeune fille, my father responded hastily- “Sure, tape water is fine”.

This caused my mother and sister – already trying to suppress their laughter- to éclater de rire, which in turn caused me to desperately engage notre serveuse in French conversation, in hopes that she wouldn’t notice the sudden laughter.

All said and done, I think she was oblivious to any cause for embarassment.  But where she came up with “tape” from “tap”… j’en sais rien

Floride > Florida
faits maison > home-made
pas mal > not bad
nous nous sommes assises > we seated ourselves
plat ou gazeuses > flat or carbonated
jeune fille > young girl
éclater de rire > burst out laughing
notre serveuse > our waitress
j’en sais rien > literally “I know nothing of it”, but can also mean “I have no idea”

Leave a comment

Filed under quickie

quickie : “émission”

émission (n.f.) : show (tv, radio)

Depuis my departure from Paris, I haven’t thought much about French food.  I’ve looked forward to the myriad cuisines of Manhattan – the savory ethnic dishes whose scent wafts out of closet-sized kitchens, the glamorous understated details of the best Keith McNally restaurant (I love the café/bistro Balthazar), the constant turn-over of new restaurants, food-trucks, and must-eat-menus.  The opening of Eataly!

And then came Anthony Bourdain.

Bourdain, known for his Paris-named restaurant Les Halles (a district of Paris that, while it may have been the ventre of the city at one point, today inspires little hunger in me) is actually most connu for his série on the Travel Channel, No Reservations.  As suggested by the show’s name – on his most recent (and 100th) émission, Bourdain seemingly spontaneously makes his way into some of the hottest restaurants in Paris, from Le Chateaubriand to L’Atelier – but I suspect he had more than a little little help from famed chef of Le Bernardin, Eric Ripert.

A Sicilian feast > Stuffed mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, and shaved white carrots at La Tete dans les Olives

If my stomach wasn’t feeling nostalgic avant, it is maintenant.  From La tête dans les olives to le Comptoir to the Mouffetard market (which is actually, more picturesque and less practical than say, Place d’Aligre) – I watched as Bourdain (somewhat of a hero of mine, minus his whole drug/bad-boy period) traveled in my well-worn pas, munchingly along happily.  At first, I felt fière (then a frimeur) to be able to say I ate at most of the places he visited (though l’Atelier remains sadly untouched by my palate…).  But eventually I just felt…faim.

So I cooked up a pile of bok choy, chinese broccoli, and sesame pork.  Because emulating French bistro food was going to be oh-so-unsatisfying in comparison to the marscapone-fish heaven served up by Inaki Aizpitarte (who I happily sat across from one day at lunch at Le Baratin (I’ll take a chef over a celebrity sighting anyday, and I’ve been toe-to-toe with Yoko Ono!)).

En tout cas, the point is : aller, regarder this émission – because if your ventre wasn’t already grumbling for Paris, it will be now.


Depuis > Since

connu > known

série > series

avant > before

maintenant > now

pas > footsteps

fière > proud

frimeur > a show-off

faim > hungry

En tout cas > In all cases

aller > go

regarder > watch

ventre > stomach

1 Comment

Filed under quickie

quickie: “Fêtes de Bayonne”

Fêtes de Bayonne: the festival of Bayonne, a city in the Basque country

After my week stint in Maroc, I’ve again headed south, this time to the Pays Basque for a dizaine de jours, to visit my best friends from Paris (mostly d’origine basque) and to experience la Fête de Bayonne.

Telling French people you’re going to this particular fête usually receives the same sort of reaction that I get when Parisians learn I live on Rue de Lappe : surprise, jealousy, and/or a regard that essentially suggests that they think I am insane.  I understand their confusion, because normally 5 straight days of non-stop  debauchery and drunkeness (even in the spirit of city pride) would be about as much my thing as living on one of the most well known party streets in Paris.  Go figure that both would be part of my vie française.

The Fetes de Bayonne is a mythe among my meilleurs amis. It is à la fois their christmas, their birthday, and their 4th of July all wrapped up into one big free-for-all.  It is the central point around which their year revolves. Lifelong friendships are made or confirmed in a sea of blanc et rouge – the dancing and singing, eating and drinking so boisterous, so indulgent, that you cannot help but be swept away by the enthousiasme of all things Basque.

Or so I hear.  The Fetes start tomorrow, the first activity on my agenda being a massive omelette de piment contest.  And it only gets more fabulous and ridiculous from there.

I hope I’m prête, or at least that I dont get lost in la foule.  One would think 4 years of undergrad partying in the US would be sufficient training for this sort of thing.

Yet despite any remaining qualms (I’ve heard a number of horror stories), I couldn’t be more excited.  Even after only three days in the  B-A-B (Biarritz; Anglet; Bayonne) and its surroundings, I am totally in love with (and feel at home in) this diverse and curious landscape.  From mountains to the mer, fromage de brebis to charcuterie, there is more than enough to love about the basque life.

So baptise me basque.  I’ll figure out a way to get the red-wine taches out of my all-white tenue later.


Maroc > Morocco

Pays Basque > Basque Country, a region in southwest France and northeastern Spain

dizaine de jours > approximately ten days

d’origine > of origine

regard > a look, a regard

vie française > french life

mythe > myth

meilleurs amis > best friends

à la fois > at once, at the same time

blanc et rouge > white and red

enthousiasme > enthusiasm

omelette de piment > spicy omelette (piment d’espelette being a spice native to the region)

prête > ready

la foule > the crowd, the mob

mer > ocean

montagnes > mountains

fromage de brebis > sheep’s (ewe’s) cheese

charcuterie > diverse meat products

taches > stains

tenue > clothes, get-up

1 Comment

Filed under quickie

quickie : “Maroc”

Maroc (n.m.) : Morocco

Off to Morocco for the week on a tour guidée to enjoy some vacances à la française! Will certainly have some interesting things to write about post-trip.  Bonnes vacances to everyone else on holiday!


tour guidée > guided tour

vacances à la française > vacation, french style

bonnes vacances > have a nice vacation

Leave a comment

Filed under quickie